Nutrition Reviews

BioSteel High Performance Sports Drink

BioSteel High Performance Sports DrinkWhen it comes to sports nutrition it’s perhaps not quite all in the name (Cyclo hopes the ingredients might go some way towards defining success) but certainly a name can tell you quite a lot. BioSteel! Now there’s a product name that sounds… hard, a name that suggests no-nonsense, straight-to-the-point, tough-as-old-boots results. How then, we wondered, does BioSteel High Performance Sports Drink measure up beyond the label?


The unavoidable cultural cliché obliges us to point out that with a name like BioSteel, this is a product that could only hail from the USA – and so it does, where it enjoys much success across a range of pro sports, not least in hockey and golf. Indeed it was whilst working as a trainer in the former that BioSteel creator Matt Nichol, a veteran strength and conditioning coach, set about creating an energy drink that delivered maximum results whilst working well within the sports strict anti-doping regime.


Hoping to break the UK market, BioSteel is an easy dissolve (non-clumping) mixed berry fruit flavoured powder that, mixed with plus or minus 250ml of water, delivers 1.5g of carbohydrates (non-sugar, so no associated ‘crash’) along with a mix of ‘body salt’ electrolytes to maintain balance in hot or sweaty conditions. The blend of amino acids are intended to aid recovery and, it’s claimed, boost mental clarity.


As always, hard to substantiate such claims outside of structured testing, but as a pure electrolyte drink it works well, with a crisp, clean flavour that doesn’t so much as hint at artificiality (despite hardly wearing ‘natural’ credentials on its sleeve). Certainly the ‘energy’ levels are relatively low – compare the whopping 30g carbs something like Nectar Sports Fuel delivers in a similar sixed serving…


So, perhaps it’s definitely not all in the name. BioSteel High Performance Sports Drink is a product that sounds incredibly impressive, but (tentative ‘mental clarity’ claims aside) serves mostly to refresh and rehydrate. Perhaps we missed something, but Cyclo doesn’t quite ‘get’ BioSteel. Whilst we wait for enlightenment, we’re happy to reiterate that it tastes good…


Retailing at £69.99 for a tub that, depending on dilution, will give 30-60 servings – BioSteel is available online from


Nutrition Recovery Reviews


AprèsRecovery drinks are, inarguably, an excellent idea after a long training ride or tough sportive – an energy-sapped body benefits from carbohydrate replacement and protein can go to work repairing the damage and getting you set for the next saddle-up. But however much good we know it’s doing us, trying to throw down a cold drink at the end of a blisteringly bitter ride is something we have never particularly relished the idea of. If only there was a hot recovery drink we could use… Enter Après, the hot malted chocolate drink that looks to tick all the right boxes.


Après is the brainchild of brothers Luke and Matt Farren who, after a six-hour training ride so cold they report their bidons froze (possibly a painful euphemism) came up with the now seemingly obvious idea of a hot beverage that fulfilled all the requirements of a traditional recovery drink.


Free from artificial colours, flavours and preservatives and made from sustainably produced skimmed milk powder, sugar and cocoa, Après delivers the accepted ideal 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio (25.6g carbs, of which 19.2g is sugar, to 8.2g of protein for 40g serving). It also contains a range of vitamins including A, D, E, C, B1, B2, B3, and B6, plus a range of minerals – potassium, magnesium, zinc – likely to have been lost trough sweat even on the coldest or rides. For good measure each serving contains 2g of L-Glutamine, an amino acid that, despite very limited evidence to support any benefit to athletes, continues to find its way into sports products. Still, no harm in hedging of bets and including it here.


Cyclo found that Après mixed quickly and without too much annoying ‘clumping’ to produce a drink with a good chocolaty taste and a hint of malt that didn’t overpower things. Hot water is invariably available at the end of well organised sportive and we found the idea of a hot drink (that was also doing us good) a veritable pick-me-up. It is often suggested that milk-based drinks make for more effective recovery, in part because of the slightly slower absorption rates and natural electrolytes, in which case Après hits another high note. Both malted barley and quality cocoa have well defined antioxidant properties too – more good news for depleted riders.


In comparison to something like the chocolate flavour For Goodness Shakes 3:1 Recovery drink – which comes in larger 72g sachets to mix to a 500ml drink – the numbers stack up like this:


FGS 266.5kcal – Après 142kcal

FGS 16.3 protein – Après 8.2g

FGS 48.9g carbs of which 45.6 sugar – Après 25.6g, 19.2g sugars

FGS 1.2 fat of which .6g saturated – Après 0.8g, 0.4g saturates

FGS 0.1g sodium – Après 0.24g


Vitamin and mineral content varies between the two products on %RDA, and it’s vital to remember that these are drinks of different size; that said a drink’s a drink so the above figures are a fair indication of what you will be putting down you at the end of a ride. But for our money, on a cold day, Après looks very much like a winning formula.


Après is available in single 40g sachets at £1.99, packs of six at £11.40 and boxes of 15 sachets at £26.99 – free delivery on orders with more details at



H2ProHydrate Sweat Calculator

H2ProHydrateThe makers of H2ProHydrate – the salt replacement tabs that offer a range of ‘strengths’ for more effective and targeted hydration – have launched a simple, online calculator to help users determine which of the products is best for them. The four tab strengths – rated 250, 500, 1000 and 1500 – are designed for either different levels of excursion or sweat rates (which vary from individual to individual, but are ‘genetically set’ for life) and, whilst a professional sweat analysis test can be undertaken at a number of locations across the UK (click here for a detailed list and see the video below), the new calculator is designed to give an instant indication of which product is most appropriate for you. For all you need to know about the importance of sports hydration you can read our interview with the company founder Andy Blow here to read our original product review click here and to take the H2ProHydrate calculation yourself visit



Featured Reviews

Orbana Healthy Energy

Orbana healthy energy drink review

There has been a noticeable buzz around Orbana Healthy Energy drink over the last few months. Here at Cyclo we can’t quite remember when it first started creeping into our collective consciousness, but one thing is clear: it’s becoming hard to ignore this new kid on the block – time we tried it out and delivered our verdict.


First to note: Orbana comes powdered in either individual-serving 50g sachets or 800g tubs which, those of you quick on the maths will know, delivers 16 servings. Powdered versus pre-mixed drinks is always down to individual preference, but the Orbana option arguably helps prolong shelf life – and eliminates artificial preservatives – whilst also allowing you to mix to whatever dilution suits (250ml is the base recommendation). Whatever your taste, it mixes effortlessly with only a few shakes of the bottle for a lump-free drink that, whilst advertised as being ‘orange, lemon and pineapple’, is probably better described as ‘generic sport fruit flavour’. Not to say it tastes bad, it doesn’t – although there is a slight tang about it.


Okay, so easily mixed and perfectly palatable means that Orbana clears the first couple of criteria jumps. How does it stack up beneath the bonnet?


The approach to energy delivery is certainly to be admired; the 185kcal provided by each packet is split between low and high GI carbohydrates, meaning the release of energy is staged rather than being ‘dumped’ into the body, thus avoiding spikes in performance, followed by those dreaded ‘sugar crashes’. To achieve this Orbana delivers 36% of its energy via high GI ‘simple sugars’ (a blend of dextrose and fructose) to give an initial power kick; backed up by the remaining 64% coming from the much lower GI starch-based maltodextrin for more sustained energy. Depending on the intensity of exercise, Cyclo would reckon on getting a good 60-90minutes out of a single sachet.


Orbana also throws in antioxidants in the form of vitamins C and E (200% and 25% of your RDA respectively), in addition to various amino acids – including muscle-strengthening creatine – and a range of B vitamins for energy conversion.


Maintaining a good balance of minerals and electrolytes (often simply referred to as ‘body salts’), which are otherwise lost through the sweat process, is critical to exercise performance; drops in sodium, zinc and potassium can quickly lead to cramps and fatigued muscles if not kept in check. Orbana measures up well against standard hydration drinks and bests a number of regular sports drinks in this department; We certainly found it a bonus not to have to consider a separate hydration salts strategy on the bike – although in extreme conditions it would probably still be wise to have one.


In test (three cyclists, two rides each, since you ask…) we found energy levels stable, without jags or noticeable lows, enjoyed the taste – certainly enough find it easy to consume – and appreciated not having to top up with hydration tabs. It seems that the hype around Orbana could well be justified but if you want to make up your own mind we have free sachets to give away to the first 100 readers who follow the link below.


Orbana retails at: 6x50g sachets £12.96, 16x50g sachets £34.56 or 800g tub (16 servings) £30.00 – full details and online purchase at


Nutrition Recovery Reviews

ZipVit ZV0 Electrolyte Drink

Frequent readers of Cyclo will have noticed that we’re hot on good hydration. If you also spotted our recent review of ZipVit ZV8 Energy Bars it will come as no surprise that we have turned our attention to ZV0, the same company’s sports electrolyte drink.


Initially developed to meet the demands of Cervelo Test Team riders, ZipVit ZV0 combines seven key electrolytes to replace those lost through sweat with L- Glutamine, an amino acid whose dietary sources include everything from beef to dairy products, which some (so far quite limited) research suggests can boost the immune system and aid fatigue. These individually wrapped, effervescent, tablets dissolve on 500-750ml of plain water and low calorie (just over 12kcal per serving) and formulated as low-carbohydrate (0.28g) which may also help burn body fat more efficiently during prolonged exercise.


Whilst difficult to swear to their efficiency with regards to either fat-burning or immunity building, the ZV0s certainly deliver on the rehydration front and, crucially, taste pretty good too. Free from artificial colours and flavours, the original Watermelon option tastes refreshing (oddly more like cucumber though, we thought) and does a reasonable job of masking the slightly ‘salty’ taste, but by far Cyclo’s favourite is the all-new Cherry flavour, one of the best tasting electrolytes we’ve tested to date.


If you’re looking for pure and unadulterated rehydration something more along the lines of Elete Water might suit, but if you want that little extra (and a great taste to boot) then ZV0 is an excellent option. £7.99 buys 20 tabs, enough to make between 10 and 15litres of drink. Further information and online sales at


Extras Nutrition Recovery Reviews


Good hydration is – as Cyclo is so often at pains to highlight – vital to good performance, fail to hydrate and you will ride sub-standard. But hydration isn’t just about replacing volume lost to sweating; it’s about replacing elements, such as sodium, calcium, magnesium and potassium, too and the more accurately to can target these levels the better. This could well be were a new range of products called H2ProHydrate comes in.


Unlike most ‘salt’ replacement tablets H2Pro comes in a range of four ‘strengths’: 250, 500, 1000 and 1500 each designed for either different levels of excursion or sweat rate. An individual’s sweat rate (how much of these elements we lose per hour) can either be roughly self-calculated or more highly measured by undergoing a quick and painless test at one of the centres currently offering the service in the UK – see for details. Once measured it is simply a case of picking which of the four tablet strengths best matches the results.


Even without undergoing the test the H2Pro tablets can be employed as highly affective hydration solutions. The 250s are used as a general ‘day to day’ tablet and the 500s more closely match the levels of most electrolyte sports drinks – both can be useful therefore in keeping levels stable in the lead up to a sportive or hard training session; whilst the 1000 and 1500s are more appropriate for high sweat sodium loss individuals (as identified by testing) or for longer/hotter rides and multi-day events.


With a crisp, very slightly citrus taste that isn’t overpoweringly ‘salty’ H2Pro has tested well with Cyclo having used both the 500s as background hydration and the 1000 strength as an on-the-bike electrolyte and post-ride re-hydrator. Both the 250s and 500s cost £6.99 for 15 tabs, whilst the 1000s and 1500s come in at the same price for 10. Further information and online ordering via


For more information on hydration read the Cyclo feature Cyclists: Don’t Sweat It here.



Going with the Flow

Think good hydration is just about a glug of on-the-bike water (or a swift half post-race)? Think again. Keeping the body fuelled for exercise is vital and the consequences of drinking too little, or indeed too much, can range from race-ending to life-threatening; but the good news is that the science behind it is relatively straight forward. Cyclo spoke to Andy Blow of, a company offering a range of products and services designed to pinpoint individual hydration strategies to maximise exercise performance.



Cyclo: Is there a timeline for hydration/re-hydration strategy?


Andy Blow: Absolutely, optimising hydration around the pre/during/post exercise window is critical to ensure that all aspects of your physiology are working at 100%. Body fluid plays a central role in transportation the nutrients to working muscles and the brain, disposal of waste products and temperature regulation so if you end up with low body water (or start an event with tanks only half full) performance is inevitably compromised somewhere along the line.


Cyclo: How soon before an event should you start to consider your hydration?


AB: Hydration for an event starts 36-48 hours prior. At this time it is a good idea to start consuming fluids with a moderate amount of sodium (such as a low calorie electrolyte drink) in preference to plain water. This helps the body to absorb more of the fluids consumed and ensures that blood sodium levels are not diluted by too much plain water. Drink to thirst and at a rate reasonable for your body size and the environmental conditions; a big guy in a hot/humid environment is obviously going to need to drink a lot more than a small lady in a cool environment.


Reduce the amount of tea, coffee, alcohol and any other diuretics that may cause you to pee more in the final 24 hours as this helps you body hold onto fluid more effectively.


Cyclo: Any easy ways of checking that you are drinking the right amount before an event?


AB: To check your general hydration status, monitor the colour of urine. It should be a pale, straw like colour. If you are peeing infrequently and it is very dark you need to drink more, if you are peeing very frequently and it is completely clear in colour you are probably over drinking, so slow down.


The full interview with Andy Blow will feature in issue 3 of Cyclo for iPad coming soon. For issues 1 and 2 take a look at Cyclo in the iTunes Store – issue 1 is free, issue 2 just £1.49


For further information on Precision Hydration, including details of where and how to arrange an individual ‘sweat test’, see:


Nutrition Recovery Reviews

Nectar Sports Fuel

Goodness Shakes are rightly known for their excellent sports recovery drinks (see the Cyclo review here) but now they have taken the plunge into the exercise sports drink market with an intriguing new idea. Nectar Sports Fuel is a concentrate which comes in a 2litre bottle (at around £25.00) with a precision pump that delivers exactly the correct amount (25ml) for mixing with 500ml of water – but here’s the clever bit: pump once for a hypotonic drink, twice for an isotonic drink or three times for a hypertonic solution.


Perhaps that needs a little explaining… the hypotonic version will deliver fast hydration and is best suited for use during low intensity workouts (or long, slow bike rides) or in hot conditions. Isotonic works best for higher intensity workouts, strenuous rides or races and delivers a greater energy boost, whilst the hypertonic, three pump, version serves up a real surge of energy for that sprint finish or for interval-style training.)


In terms of the ‘sciencey bit’ Nectar is a ‘dual carbohydrate source’ consisting of 2 parts glucose to 1 part fructose; because these two types of energy use different methods for absorption into the body they can enter the bloodstream (and therefore ultimately the muscles) up to 55% faster than either a standalone glucose or fructose-based energy drink.


The taste, as you might expect from For Goodness Shakes, is excellent too. The Lemon/Lime variety is pleasantly tangy and the Light Orange variety has a mellow mandarin hint – obviously having a sports drink that is actually palatable makes all the difference to drink the right amount. Value’s good too – depending on the concentrate level you opt for each diluted 500ml serving will cost from around 65p, around half what you would expect to pay for a pre-prepared sports drink with similar values.


As a rough guide to nutritional values, the isotonic version (double-pump, 50ml of concentrate) will serve up 240Kcal of energy with 60g of carbs (48 from the combined sugars) along with a good balance of potassium, magnesium and other body salts otherwise lost through sweat.


For more information, visit: